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Parents' joy as miracle baby Layceigh-Mae Flower allowed home
DOCTORS called her a miracle baby after she survived against the odds having been born with a rare heart condition.
Now, four-month-old Layceigh-Mae Flower is finally home with her family following a traumatic first few weeks of life.
It was at a 20-week scan that mum and dad-to-be Amy Kemp and Daniel Flower discovered that their unborn baby girl had Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) – a condition whereby the two arteries from the heart are the wrong way around. Only four cases of TGA are diagnosed out of every 10,000 births.
Amy was told that she would have to deliver her baby at Princess Anne Hospital, in Southampton, at 38 weeks, and that her child would need open heart surgery within a few weeks of being born if she was to have any chance of surviving.
The 22-year-old, from Butler Close, South Ham, Basingstoke, said: “The colour just drained out of us and so many questions were running through our heads. It felt like our life was falling apart.”
Amy, who also has two sons, aged two and four, was induced on June 6 and Layceigh-Mae was born the following day at 3am, weighing 6lb 8oz – but she was whisked straight to the neo-natal unit.
Amy said: “We were allowed to go and see her for the first time at 8.30am. She looked so poorly and frail.”
Amy and Daniel did not have long with Layceigh-Mae because the duct in her heart was closing up too soon, and needed to be kept open until the surgery. It was six hours before the couple saw their little girl again.
Amy said: “She was wired up and had a machine breathing for her. She didn’t look like the baby I had just given birth to.”
Layceigh-Mae then developed a blood clot in her leg, and was in a critical condition. But she gained enough strength for the arterial switch operation, and at 11-days-old went for surgery, which was expected to last between six and seven hours.
After an agonising 10-hour wait, the surgeon finally appeared and took Amy and Daniel into a quiet room.
Amy said: “I was expecting them to say she wasn’t alive.”
She added: “He explained that the operation hadn’t gone as well as planned and her heart wasn’t functioning as it should be.”
The surgeon tried to take Layceigh-Mae off a heart bypass, and on the third attempt, her final chance, she pulled through, right at the last minute.
Amy and Daniel breathed a sigh of relief, but it was a shock for the couple when they saw Layceigh-Mae, as her chest was still open.
Amy said: “I broke down in tears...it was heart-breaking.”
However, over the next few days, Layceigh-Mae began to improve, and she shocked doctors and nurses with her strength. Finally, on July 8, Layceigh-Mae was allowed home.
Amy said: “She pulled through, and the day arrived that we were allowed to take our miracle baby home. It was exciting but we were so scared at the same time.”
Layceigh-Mae is now doing well, but faces an uncertain future, with the possibility of further heart-surgery if complications occur. She will also need to be careful playing sport, as her heart is weak.
But Amy and Daniel are just relieved that their daughter is alive. Amy said: “If I hadn’t found out what was wrong at my 20-week scan, she wouldn’t be here today.
“I would like to thank all the sonographers, doctors, nurses, and most of all, the surgeon, Mr Fiola, who saved our little girl.”
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